TAMPA, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed CS/CS/HB 501: Alternative Treatment Options for Veterans and CS/CS/HB 427: Honor and Remember Flag, at the University of South Florida’s Office of Veteran Success, June 26.
“Here in Florida, we take great pride in being the most veteran-friendly state in the nation and I am proud to sign these two bills today to support our veterans,” said Governor DeSantis. “With more than 1.5 million veterans living in Florida, this community makes up an important part of our state’s identity. While we may never be able to fully repay these men and women for their sacrifices, we will continue to do everything we can to support them and their families.”
“I’m proud of Governor DeSantis, our Cabinet and legislature for supporting FDVA and the 1.5 million veterans of our state,” said Danny Burgess, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “Together, we will work to ensure Florida continues to lead the charge as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.”
CS/CS/HB 501, sponsored by Rep. Mel Ponder and Sen. Tom Wright, creates a $200,000 pilot program focused on treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries in veterans using alternative therapies. It expands available therapies for eligible veterans to include accelerated resolution therapy, equine therapy, music therapy, service animal training therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy at registered facilities
“I would like to thank Governor DeSantis for signing this good piece of legislation today,” said Rep. Mel Ponder. “Too many veterans are returning home with wounds from conflict, after laying their lives on the line for our freedom, to insufficient care. We need to do better to honor and thank the sacrifices these heroes have made for us and this legislation is a step in the right direction.”
“I’m so proud Governor DeSantis signed the alternative treatments bill today,” said Sen. Tom Wright. “This bill will allow us to provide the treatments our veterans need to cure PTSD/TBI. These men and women have served us proudly and with honor and now it’s our time to serve them.”
CS/CS/HB 427, sponsored by Rep. Tommy Gregory and Sen. Joe Gruters, allows the flying of a new flag, the Honor and Remember Flag, to serve as the state’s emblem of the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have given their lives in the line of duty. It allows the flag to be flown on Veterans Day, Gold Star Mother’s Day and a day on which a member of the United States Armed Forces who is a resident of Florida loses his or her life.
“It was my honor, as a retired Air Force officer and member of the Legislature, to ask the State of Florida to display this flag to honor the men and women who gave their lives defending our country and recognize the sacrifices of Gold Star Families,” said Rep. Tommy Gregory.
“It was an honor to be a part of this piece of legislation that recognizes and remembers our fellow Floridians, Gold Star Families, and Fallen Heroes who gave their lives so we can live ours,” said Sen. Joe Gruters.
Governor DeSantis was joined at the bill signing by FDVA Executive Director Danny Burgess, Bryan Anderson of non-profit Veterans Alternative, Gold Star Father Kris Hager, Senators Tom Wright and Kelli Stargel, Representatives Tommy Gregory, Jamie Grant, Jennifer Webb and Fentrice Driskell, and Representative-elect Randy Maggard.
For more information on CS/CS/HB 501, read the bill summary HERE.
For more information on CS/CS/HB 427, read the bill summary HERE.